Open Insulin: biohackers trying to create a "microbrewery" for insulin as an answer to price-gouging

The Open Insulin project ("a team of Bay Area biohackers working on newer, simpler, less expensive ways to make insulin") is trying to create an open source hardware system for making insulin in small batches, through a process that uses engineered yeast to "produce a modified proinsulin protein, and an enzyme to convert the modified proinsulin into insulin glargine" so that insulin co-ops can produce and test their own insulin for a cost "from ten thousand to a few tens of thousands of dollars." Read the rest

Americans with diabetes are forming caravans to buy Canadian insulin at 90% off

The price-gouger-driven skyrocketing prices for insulin have endangered the lives of Americans with diabetes, who are rationing their supplies and trying not to die. Read the rest

People with diabetes are scouring the internet for a discontinued insulin pump that can be reprogrammed as an "artificial pancreas"

Since 2014, open source hackers have been perfecting the OpenAPS, an "open artificial pancreas" made by modifying the firmware of discontinued Medtronic insulin pumps, which were discontinued due to the very security flaw that makes them user modifiable (that flaw also leaves them vulnerable to malicious modifications). Read the rest

Syringe-pill injects you on the inside

Biomedical engineers prototyped a pill that integrates a syringe to inject insulin into the floor of the stomach. From Science News:

The shape is designed to guide the device to rest, cap down, on the floor of the stomach. There, it sticks a needle tip composed almost entirely of insulin a few millimeters into the mucus membrane lining the stomach. Once the insulin needle tip dissolves, the device passes through the rest of the digestive system.

Thanks to the dearth of sharp pain receptors inside the stomach, the tiny injection “is unlikely to cause any discomfort,” says study coauthor Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and MIT.

"An ingestible self-orienting system for oral delivery of macromolecules" (Science) Read the rest

Insurer won't pay murdered gunshot victim's family because he didn't disclose his high blood-sugar

In March 2018, Nathan Ganas was murdered in his driveway in Durban, South Africa, during a botched hijacking; now Momentum, the insurer who wrote the 2.4m Rand (USD 170,700) policy on his life, is refusing to pay out because they say he didn't disclose his elevated blood-sugar levels when he took out the policy -- instead, they will refund the premiums Ganas paid during the four years he held the policy. Read the rest

Adorable child interrupts YouTube review of mechanical component

Jump straight to 4:30 in this otherwise riveting examination of a fixed-displacement oil pump, posted by AvE. My favorite part is when the kid analogizes the pump's pentalobe shape to screws rather than flowers. Engineers! Read the rest

TSA saves America from 16yo diabetic, breaks $10K insulin pump which totally could have been a bomb

You probably thought we covered all possible scenarios of TSA stupidity in our recent round-up post.

You thought wrong.

Via MSNBC today, the story of Savannah Barry, a 16-year-old diabetic girl who says the TSA broke her insulin pump. Savannah was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes four years ago, and her pump is a specialized medical device that can cost up to $10,000 to replace, according to MSNBC.

Snip:

The Colorado teenager says TSA screeners forced her to go through a full-body scanner in Salt Lake City last week, breaking her $10,000 insulin pump in the process. According to Sandra Barry, Savannah’s mother, her daughter was coming home from a school trip when screeners required to her to go through a full-body scanner despite the fact that the girl had a doctor’s note describing her condition and stating that she should be given a pat-down rather than subjected to screening machines.

“Believe me, being 16 and female, she probably doesn’t want the pat-down but she knows that this is what’s required,” Sandra Barry told msnbc.com. “She tried to advocate for herself and they just shut her down.”

Read the rest